The Yomiuri Shimbun Nippon Yusen K.K. plans a major renovation of the 50,142-ton Asuka II cruise ship in 2020. As more foreign cruise lines are entering the Japanese market, the shipping firm is hoping to raise the competitiveness of the ship, operated by its affiliate company, by adding such facilities as an open-air bath to meet the needs of Japanese customers.
The ship was completed in 1990 and named Crystal Harmony, with foreign registration. It was renamed Asuka II in 2006.
At the cost of several billion yen, the renovation will add an open-air bath, Japanese and Western-style guest rooms, as well as a reading lounge. Equipment that follows tightening environmental regulations on ships starting in 2020 will also be introduced. The refurbishment will be carried out in Singapore for about 1½ months from mid-January 2020, with the ship resuming operations in March.
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry figures show a record 315,000 Japanese people took a cruise trip in 2017, making the market fiercely competitive.